Houston’s Arts & Parks–Arts Edition!

Moody Gallery, By Bianca Saliderna

Following a vigorous morning at the park, we headed to one of the more than 60 art galleries in the Houston area, the Moody Art Gallery, where a special tour waited for us. As we took our first step into the gallery, Betty Moody, the owner of the gallery, was quick to give us a warm welcome to her very special art venue.

Betty Moody, Moody Art Gallery, SHSU, LEAP Center, Center for Law Engagement And Politics, Houston Arts

As the tour began, we learned that approximately 42 years ago Ms. Moody and her husband, Bill Steffy, embarked on a journey when they decided to acquire a property and open their very own art gallery. Over the decades of dealing art for accomplished artists, she has built a good reputation and now deals artworks by Arthur Turner, Jim Love, Terry Allen, Mary McCleary, and Luis Jimenez, to name just a few.

Betty Moody, Moody Art Gallery, SHSU, LEAP Center, Center for Law Engagement And Politics, Houston Arts, Luis Jimenez

Her knowledge and passion have led her to not choose art because of a simple trend, but to choose it because of the meaning and the story behind the piece.

Betty Moody, Moody Art Gallery, SHSU, LEAP Center, Center for Law Engagement And Politics, Houston Arts

Through viewing some of the most attention-grabbing art in her collection, we discovered that each person interpreted each piece differently and that, although dissimilar, they could all be representations intended by the artist.

Betty Moody, Moody Art Gallery, SHSU, LEAP Center, Center for Law Engagement And Politics, Houston Arts, Mary McCleary

One of the pieces that Ms. Moody focused on was Snow Vanitas, a mixed media collage by the local artist Mary McCleary. From a distance, it seemed like a simple piece, however, the illusions created by different elements including plastic, paint, wire, and wood, created a stunning result. Additionally, each of her three-dimensional collages have a story to tell and are created to leave an impact.

It was a learning experience in every way.  We learned archiving methods…

Betty Moody, Moody Art Gallery, SHSU, LEAP Center, Center for Law Engagement And Politics, Houston Arts

…strategies for displaying art pieces…

…the stories behind unusual art…

…and even how to use a rolodex!

Betty Moody, Moody Art Gallery, SHSU, LEAP Center, Center for Law Engagement And Politics, Houston Arts
To continue with our learning adventure, Betty Moody gave us a tour of her own home, located a wall behind the art gallery.

Betty Moody, Moody Art Gallery, SHSU, LEAP Center, Center for Law Engagement And Politics, Houston Arts

There, she showed us some of her most precious and sentimental pieces she owns.

Betty Moody, Moody Art Gallery, SHSU, LEAP Center, Center for Law Engagement And Politics, Houston Arts

Decorated with Pre-Colombian art as well as modern pieces by Randy Twaddle, Robert Rauschenberg, Luis Jimenez, and the like, the room was a beautiful embodiment of art. Embedded in her book shelves were not only a trove of books, but also a Campbell’s Soup can signed by Andy Warhol!

Betty Moody, Moody Art Gallery, SHSU, LEAP Center, Center for Law Engagement And Politics, Houston Arts, Andy Warhol

We also had the chance to see a Picasso on her kitchen shelf!

Betty Moody, Moody Art Gallery, SHSU, LEAP Center, Center for Law Engagement And Politics, Houston Arts, Picasso

Ms. Moody’s home could easily be used as an art museum.

Although we are certain that these were highly valuable to Ms. Moody, without a doubt her most treasured objects where Bill Steffy’s visually attractive works. As a sculptor and jeweler, he incorporated silver and materials like turquoise to give each piece a unique appearance. Surprisingly enough, what appeared to be a bird sculpture, was a jewelry box, which with the click of a button released a stunning pendant from its wing.  It was one of our favorite pieces in the entire collection.

Betty Moody, Moody Art Gallery, SHSU, LEAP Center, Center for Law Engagement And Politics, Houston Arts, Bill Steffy
Photo from Houston Chronicle

There is no doubt varied talents are well exhibited at the Moody Art Gallery. Betty Moody gave us an unforgettable tour that went beyond our expectations.

Betty Moody, Moody Art Gallery, SHSU, LEAP Center, Center for Law Engagement And Politics, Houston Arts

The LEAP Ambassadors will treasure this unprecedented experience.

ecious and sentimental pieces she owns.

Thanks to Ms. Moody’s intimate relationship with art and her generosity in sharing, we experienced a semester’s worth of art learning in one afternoon–while spending time with a delightful business owner and lady!

Betty Moody, Moody Art Gallery, SHSU, LEAP Center, Center for Law Engagement And Politics, Houston Arts, Helen Altman

 

 

Author: mikeyawn

Mike Yawn teaches at Sam Houston State University. In the past few years, he has taught courses on Politics & Film, Public Policy, the Presidency, Media & Politics, Congress, Statistics, Research & Writing, Field Research, and Public Opinion. He has published academic papers in the Journal of Politics, Political Behavior, Social Security Quarterly, Film & History, American Politics Review, and contributed a chapter to the textbook Politics and Film. He also contributes columns, news analysis, and news stories to news stories, having contributed more than 50 pieces in the past year. Yawn is also active in his local community, serving on the board of directors of the local YMCA and Friends of the Wynne. Previously, he served on the Huntsville's Promise and Stan Musial World Series Boards of Directors. In 2007-2008, Yawn was one of eight scholars across the nation named as a Carnegie Civic Engagement Scholar by the Carnegie Foundation.

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